Ambassador slams Tiernan on visit to Cavan

The Israeli ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony visited Cavan last week on a nationwide tour to learn more about this country, to promote tourism to Israel and also develop Irish/Israeli relations. In terms of "misinformation" about Israel and its policies, Mr. Evrony hit out at comedian Tommy Tiernan for "anti-semitic" remarks that did nothing for relations between Ireland and Israel. At a Q&A in the Hotpress tent at the Electric Picnic, Tommy Tiernan described Jews as "Christ killing b***ards" and joked he would have got 10 or 12 million, rather than six million (in a reference to the numbers killed in the Holocaust). Referring to the Catholic faith of the Irish, Mr. Evrony emphasised the potential to encourage more visitors to the Holy Land in Israel. He pointed out that religious tourism by Irish people to Cyprus averages 70,000 a year, compared to just 7,000 for Israel. "Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Nicossia," said the ambassador. "I want the people of Ireland to know that Israel wants nothing more than to live in peace and security. While debate about the conflict in the Middle East is natural, many are not aware that Israel yearns for peace with all its neighbours and is ready to make sacrifices and concessions for peace. "I also want to emphasise that the only lasting solution to this ongoing conflict will be found through mutual compromise," said Mr. Evrony. During his visit to Cavan, the ambassador also promoted and encouraged trade links between this region and Israel. "Currently, trade between our two countries amounts to almost €300m a year. Ireland and Israel are small, democratic countries, with few natural resources, who have achieved a great deal by having an economic and educational system oriented to advanced skills, hi-technology, investment, and exports. Like Israelis, the Irish maintain a bond to their land, cherish their rich yet difficult history, and strive to preserve their ancient language," remarked Mr. Evrony. In Cavan the ambassador met Bishop Leo O'Reilly, politicians, executive members of local authorities and the president of Cavan Chamber, Eamon McDwyer.